US Department of State Reviews

Updated March 30, 2015
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  1. 1 person found this helpful

    Mostly positive.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Travel, meeting new and interesting people. Good middle management and camaraderie. Challenging work with impact on policy makers. Be on the forefront of history.

    Cons

    Poor senior management apt to be cliquish and unable to hold other senior managers accountable in meaningful ways. Cut-throat management practices that reward loyalty over all.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    A thought from Stephen M.R. Covey:

    How to destroy credibility & trust in an organization:

    The hardest of all to deal with are those who have high results but are poor in living the values. They achieve the end that everybody wants, but they do it a way that blatantly defies organizational values. According to GE, people in this category need to learn to operate within the company’s values—or be let go, despite their results. To keep them on as they are is not only unsustainable, it is damaging to the organization and destroys credibility and trust.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. Bureaucracy... inaction

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Consular Officer in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Consular Officer in Washington, DC

    I worked at US Department of State full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Working for the US Department of State brings you close to interesting international work, as a part of the most powerful government on the planet. As a government bureaucrat (i.e. NOT a contractor) you will earn the salary and benefits that most only dream of. A typical first year employee will receive approximately $100,000 in salary, pension, perks, benefits and other goodies.

    Cons

    In return for the pros, you will work in a organization where half of the people walking the halls wish they were the Secretary of State, while the other half wish they were retied. This dynamic leads to a corrosive office culture, which is not aided by an antiquated hierarchy that emphasizes individual work and deemphasizes teamwork. Most people are unhappy working here, however, the average time between first applying and entry on duty is six years, thus with the sunk-cost fallacy at work, they feel unable to leave for fear of having wasted those years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Secretary Kerry, keep doing what you are doing, you want no part of this. The last Secretary of State to invest any time in the organization was Colin Powell, and things didn't turn out too well for him.

    American People, how much do you know about the work of the State Department? Is it really work 70,000 employees and $52 billion a year?

    Obama Administration, when was the last time you actually used the State Department?

    OPM, regulation limits freedom, make it easier to join and easier to leave, then you might hire a team work having. You've got a deadwood problem and you know it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. Poor management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Washington, DC
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Washington, DC

    I worked at US Department of State as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Interesting to work with diplomacy, learn a lot abou the world.

    Cons

    No independent thought, can't grow, too much micromanagement by too many middle managers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give your employees a chance to succeed and innovate, stop being so focused on the politics

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful

    Foreign Policy Career

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Many Pros to Foreign Service Career:
    -- Directly involved in foreign affairs;
    -- Travel to and live in remarkable places;
    -- Meet remarkable people;
    -- Colleagues generally intelligent and motivated;
    -- Always new experiences and lifelong learning;
    -- Substantial responsibility and some autonomy, and opportunity to be bureaucratically entrepreneurial.
    -- Many functions, especially policy objectives, poorly resourced.

    Cons

    Many Cons also to Foreign Service Career:
    -- Foreign Affairs can be complicated and unstructured, is more about process and relationships than outcomes, and results can be hard to measure;
    -- Travel to and live in unremarkable or unpleasant places, and over time can become exhausting;
    -- Meet difficult people, and have to work with them;
    -- Focus on policy sometimes means lack of focus on management, which can at times be weak;
    -- Work can be unpredictable and demand sacrifices;
    -- Jobs can be unstructured and there is seldom clear guidance, so experiences will vary.
    -- Limited resources teach (those who are successful) to be resourceful.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Very risk averse environment, and sometimes inability to distinguish real and imagined risks. Focus on avoiding bad outcomes rather than achieving good ones, leads to caution rather achieving important goals.

  6. 2 people found this helpful

    Pretty good place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Department of State full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    State employs smart and dynamic people. There are many challenges faced and hardwork and creativity are prized. The training available is impressive and the potential to travel and see the world is pretty great. Overall, State is a very interesting place to work.

    Cons

    Civil Service employees are generally considered less important than Foreign Service. Most of the leadership positions in the Department are reserved for Foreign Service, so CS employees are limited in how high they can go. The FS employees are on two or three year rotations and need to show major achievements to get promoted. This results in limiting what some FS employees will take on. The FS can also be clubby at time. My experience is the FS help each other sometimes at the expense of CS.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide greater opportunities Civil Service employees to fill leadership roles in the Department.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. Incredible Talent, too much Bureaucracy

    Former Employee - Civil Servant
    Former Employee - Civil Servant

    I worked at US Department of State

    Pros

    The level of intellect and talent present with the employees at the State Department is second to none. It was excellent being able to immerse myself in that atmosphere.

    Cons

    Bureaucratic infighting leaves the State Department with an archaic operating environment; one that is constantly beholden to the politics of the day.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. Interesting and fun experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Department of State part-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    There are many challenges and diversity throughout and can be very interesting. Embassy life was wonderful, and you feel like part of a family.

    Cons

    Depending on the embassy, politics within can be challenging, allowing different departments to be favored.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. Trade Intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Trade Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Trade Intern in Washington, DC

    I worked at US Department of State

    Pros

    Working at the State Department gave me broad insight into the world of diplomacy and, in particular, international trade. coworkers were extremely friendly and helpful. They wanted to make sure I saw and did everything that I wanted to do during my internship there.

    Cons

    Many tasks were fairly menial but the ability to sit in on meetings with foreign diplomats and write papers for upper-level employees was fantastic. Could have been kept busier.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. Great Travel...but

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Foreign Service Officer in Washington, DC

    I have been working at US Department of State

    Pros

    Great travel. See the world and get paid for it.

    Cons

    Promotion process is capricious and vindictive. HR is broken. People don't know boundaries. Dull work even after 15 years. Culture is petty! If you want to do real work, find a different employer! I am.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Deal with reality!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. Amazing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Consular Assistant
    Former Employee - Consular Assistant

    I worked at US Department of State

    Pros

    Diversity and creating wide range of friends and contacts all over the world

    Cons

    Being away from the loved ones.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Great management however needs fair chances given to the employees.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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